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Tomorrowland: To Tomorrow and Beyond!

June 1, 2015

Tomorrowland movie poster

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Tomorrowland is a blast of new ideas that feels welcome in a summer of sequels. I know it is based on a Disney attraction but it takes a different road to the future. I will forgive a movie’s faults if it dares to bring something different to the table. Brad Bird (Incredibles, MI: Ghost Protocol) and Damon Lindelof (Lost) give us a film that goes against the post-apocalyptic ideals and hopes for a brighter future. The dreamer is idolized and imagination trumps all.

Tomorrowland does punch you in the face with its themes yet it tries something very different. Remember Flight of the Navigator, The Goonies, The Sandlot, Karate Kid, E.T. and Back to the Future? Teenagers used to be adventurous and daring.  They put themselves in danger for a better cause and rolled with the punches even as the punches turned into robots that tried to kill them. Many of these films featured a sense of awe, optimism and daring that is lacking nowadays.

The hero of Tomorrowland is a high schooler named Casey (Britt Robertson) who rides a motorcycle, pilots helicopter drones and happily sabotages NASA property. Her dad is a NASA engineer who is losing his job because of the space program closing and she tries to delay his departure by old-fashioned sabotage.  She isn’t saddled with a love interest and her protector is a young girl that kicks a whole lot of butt. They defy stereotypes and that in itself is wonderful.

Tomorrowland Britt Robertson

You gotta love it when the hero finds a mysterious pin while being bailed out from prison

The film starts with a brief history on Tomorrowland and quickly becomes a chase film. This may sound insane but it is kinda like National Treasure met Jupiter Ascending and they spawned something completely different. As always Brad Bird fills the movie with amazing visuals that push the PG limits. It subverts many of the classic tropes and creates a dizzying atmosphere of surprise. You do not know where the film will go and that is a major plus. Normally I would dive into the plot but it works best when you go in knowing as little as possible.

Nothing about Tomorrowland is subtle. However, this is a film about a Disney attraction that will start conversations about the bigger picture. The problem is it isn’t doing well at the box-office. It lacked the sequel appeal and super-heroes to boost it to box-office glory. The critics have been split (49% RT) and that is a bummer because it is a movie that actually does something. It praises the dreamers and even though the themes are kiddie pool deep it has an optimism missing in cinemas nowadays. When I walk out of a theater feeling like I just watched something nice and new I consider it a win. Disney took a chance on a random attraction film and I applaud that despite the obvious attempts to make some money.

Tomorrowland deserves a bigger audience and hopefully it will build a dedicated following.

 

 

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